Monday 17 June 2024

Spoonie Writer: Editing While Medicated


You know that Ernest Hemmingway quote: write drunk; edit sober? Yeah I've always found that it resonates with me as a spoonie. I write usually first thing in the morning, long before I take any pain meds, if they're even needed. I also edit first thing in the morning because in the past I've tried to do so while under the influence of strong meds, and it's just not gone well. One of my previous editors would get exceptionally frustrated when that happened because she wanted to move onto the next section and couldn't do so when I couldn't work out what the issues were.

I say that not to imply anything other than it's hard sometimes to think when you're in pain. It's hard sometimes to work when you're under the influence of some medications. There are some meds of mine that aren't pain meds, but do have a long term effect on the way I think, and while that's a good thing in that they do the job they're supposed to do, I've always wondered if maybe they're the reason that edits are so hard for me.

Editing has never been my most favourite part of the writing and publishing process. I'm very aware that it needs to happen. I don't dispute that and I'm not someone who thinks that my work is near perfect and can't be improved upon. That's not the case for anyone, no matter how long they've been writing, or how many books they've written, no one produces a perfect first draft. That's just facts.

So how do you, and I, as a spoonie juggle writing, editing, and all of that while also taken very much needed medication? It's something that I've thought a lot about over the years. I've managed to get to a point where, like I said, I don't use the stronger meds before I've done my edits and work. But that's not always feasible for everyone, and there are times when it's not feasible for me. After all, being in extreme pain isn't going to help you focus any better than just taking the meds.

I've come up with a few tips, and I hope they might help you. They've been things I've tried over the years, and they each have their own pros and cons to go with them. Some might enable you to find a way that works for you, and that's great, but if they don't, I hope you're able to come up with something that does work.

This isn't possible for everyone, and I want to make that clear straight off the bat. I've managed to get to a point where my maintenance pain med doesn't really impact my cognitive thinking so I'm usually okay to draft and edit while on it. That said, there are days when the pain levels are too high to function without some kind of help, and edits still need to be done. There's no getting away from that as someone with chronic pain conditions and someone who still wants to be able to function well enough to actually work.

So the pro here: can keep your mind clear. But the con is just as big: the pain might impact your thinking even more.

While this isn't always possible, it is very much an option. If, like me, you're someone who sets those buffer zones when it comes to edits, as in making sure you have time off built in, then this is possible to do. You can simply take the day, or days, off and medicate as needed and then come back to things when you're more able to function.

My only qualm with this one is that sometimes I have other deadlines, and the only way to meet them is to keep working. So I try not to take too many days off even with the ones I've built in. That's just the way I work, and it doesn't have to be the way you work, in fact I'd advise against doing that until you have a better handle on your symptoms, and even then, it's not mandatory.

So the pro here: you don't have to work through the pain. The con: sometimes deadlines aren't moveable

This isn't something you can realty predict. Like for some people the lingering effects wear off after a few doses, or they might not impact you after you've had them in your system for a while. If you can work and adjust until you're during that period when you might not have to worry about cloudy thoughts, then this is the one for you.

I've never tried this for long because while my main pain medication has gotten to this point, the as needed one never has. I guess because I don't take it every day and so my body hasn't had a chance to get really used to it. If it works, great, and I think it's something you can try if you're using the medication constantly or regularly enough for that to be the case.

The pro here: you can work whenever you need, even when the meds are in your system. And the con: doesn't always happen for everyone.

So there we go, those are my thoughts on editing while medicated. I will say that I find my way works great for me, but it doesn't have to be the only way of doing things. We have to find a way that works for us, and we have to do things in a way that doesn't make our lives harder. Whichever, and however you do that, I wish you all the luck!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.   


No comments:

Post a Comment